How to Wear a Scarf if You’re Petite

Woman Wearing a Scarf

Everyone who runs to the smaller size of things knows the struggle is real when it comes to scarves. We’ve all been there on a cold day, with a brisk wind, when you’d absolutely love to put on a scarf, but you know that the second you do, you’re going to be practically drowning in it. Or what about when you spot beautiful, silky scarf that you think would make a classy addition to your wardrobe, but when you try it on, it unflatteringly looks like you’re swimming in silk? In these situations, you might be convinced that all hope is lost for petite girls who want to wear scarves.

So, how can you, as a petite woman, wear a scarf without looking like you decided to bring a blanket along with you? When it comes to making scarves work for petites, you first want to choose fabrics that are lightweight. Next think about sticking with subtle patterns as designs of this sort won’t overwhelm a smaller frame. Also, think about the shape and width of the scarf, since some styles are more flattering for petites. Finally, bring it all together and make that scarf work by learning how to style your scarf perfectly.

With several different ways to wear a scarf, you’ll be able to try something new whenever you get tired of your old look. Wearing scarves can be fun and fashionable for people of any size, as long as you know how to make them work for your unique body type.

Selecting the Perfect Fabric for Your Scarf

When it comes to choosing a scarf, lighter-weight fabrics will always look better on petite frames. A chunky, bulky scarf, as cozy as it might be, will quickly overwhelm your much smaller frame. For that reason, the number one thing to keep in mind when choosing a scarf is weight. By selecting something lightweight, like a fine knit, chiffon, or even something in cotton, you’ll have a much more suitable option to wear.

If you’re looking for a scarf for warmth rather than just for style, then there is no need to be concerned about being cold if you choose a lightweight style. Wrapping and folding the scarf a couple of times will help you keep warm, and trapping air between several layers makes for a great insulator. Alternatively, you can look into fabric types that are specifically designed to stay warm. Wool/silk blends are excellent for this, and there are thin or loose weave wool scarves available as well. You’ll get all of the lightness and drape you want, along with the warmth you need.

Another benefit of lightweight scarves is that they are easier to drape and can easily cover all your necessary bases, from elegant to stylish. Something silky, silk-like, or in a nice silk blend is particularly suited to elegance since the fabric will be more fluid, and won’t overwhelm whatever outfit you wear it with.

On top of all of this, a lightweight scarf is easy to take on the go. The nature and weight of the fabric makes it easier to fold and pack away until you need it. You can also tie it off around a bag strap for a cute accessory that easily stays out of the way when not in use.

Choosing the Perfect Patterns and Colors

So now you know what kind of fabric you’ll be shopping for, but you still have to sort out the kind of scarf you want in terms of patterns. Fabric patterns are important, whether they’re on an accessory or part of your outfit. Petite women will have much better luck finding a scarf that suits them if they keep an eye on the design.

Bold prints and patterns are all well and good, but they can easily overwhelm your size. So, when choosing a patterned scarf, go for something a little more subtle, like a gentle check pattern or a smaller floral print.

Solid colors of any hue are also an option, and are often far easier to match. If you do decide that you want to boldly go where no scarf has gone before, make sure the rest of your outfit can balance out the pattern: no tartan on tartan.

Give Bandanna-Style Scarves the Boot

Standard rectangle scarves, also known as long scarves or oblong scarves, are an excellent option for a petite person. You’ll have more styling options with them, or with a nice infinity scarf, than you would with a scarf in the much smaller bandanna style. In general, it’s a good idea for petites to avoid smaller square scarves. They tend to look like chokers, and that tightness will shorten the length of your neck to an unflattering degree.

What About Scarf Width?

Skinny scarves are also a great option. A thin width scarf will look much better on you, and if it’s the right sort of fabric, you can easily make up the lack of width and weight with the right amount of drape.

If you find a scarf that you absolutely can’t resist buying, despite its massive size, don’t be afraid to take a pair of scissors right down the middle. It’s easy to DIY a scarf makeover with a little determination, especially if it’s already in the frayed-edge style.

How to Wear a Blank Scarf

Of course, certain scarves go wide without needing to be cut. Blanket scarves are a popular trend that’s been largely inaccessible for those of us who fall a little more on the petite side of the things. If you’d like to rock the blanket look, it’s definitely doable. While blanket scarves work best on petite people with broader shoulders and who have thicker, long hair, there are still ways to make them work for you.

One of the easiest ways to wear a blanket scarf is to go for the full on vest. Drape it over your shoulders and toss in a cute belt to turn the scarf into a nice little top. The truth of the matter is that for someone a little smaller, wearing a blanket scarf is pretty much signing up to have a second “shirt”, but when done right, this can still be a stylish look. Just be prepared for this scarf to offer a lot of coverage and, when selecting a shirt, be sure to pick a solid color shirt that doesn’t clash.

Beguile With Style

You’ve got your fabric selected, you’re pretty sure about your design, width, and weight…now it’s time to get to the fun stuff! The key to actually wearing any scarf is the styling. There are several different ways to wear a scarf, and not all of them are created equal for petite people. Here are a few options for tying off that perfect look.

  • Be careful with your length. A longer tail on the scarf will draw the eye downwards and make you look shorter than you actually are. You can add in a few extra loops to shorten the length, and it should give you the opportunity to try out a few different styles as well. If you pull the loop into a longer shape, you’ll be able to avoid the bulky loop look. This lower loop can also keep your chest warm, or help create a vertical shape if you’re using a square scarf.
  • If you’d like another way to frame your neck, try using a pretty shawl pin to create a nice v-neck, or use the scarf as a wrap. With a wide enough scarf, you can pin it in place like a proper shawl, and create a slightly broader shape with just a little more drape. The thinner a scarf is, the less you need to worry about the shape it lays in, but a thicker scarf will give you more options for playing with your lines and complementing your neck.

Petite Size, Perfect Style

While there are a lot of outfits and styles that seem like they might be out of bounds for petites, a little styling ingenuity makes all the difference.

If you pick the fabrics that work for your frame and make sure you’ve got the right cut for your style, then all you need to do is spend a little extra time getting your loops and drape right to pull off this look.

After all, a scarf is a great accent piece to any outfit. It can provide a little pop of color, a bit of extra warmth, or help uplift an otherwise lazy day look to something a little more classy. There is no reason for petites to miss out on style because of size and, when it comes to scarves, those words are especially true.

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